This is a very family friendly campground, kids everywhere scooters, bicycles. Friendly staff. Beautiful estuaries with wildlife. Great place to spend time with family.
Tucked in among trees and only a 5minute walk to the beach: it’s the best of both worlds. Nice clean bathrooms and showers. Plus a place to wash dishes! We love camping here and will come back every year.
Tent site C74 didn’t have much of a level setup site and was right across from the bathroom. We heard slamming doors all night. This particular site was practically on-top of the adjacent site. Good things is the proximity to the bathroom if you don’t mind the slamming doors. It was also close to the trashcans. We came in late and left early so we didn’t experience much of the park but it appeared well maintained and well traveled. Campsite was full so reservations are probably needed.
The sites are tight, it most are in the area to be out exploring all day. Many services, but the showers were down while we were there and no fire due to the area being in a State Park. Ultimately this felt like dispersed camping due to many services being out.
Great site! We found availability on the spot in early June Monday-Thursday. Hot showers $.25/min. Nice sites. $35/ night for tent or RV spots with flush toilets and hot showers. $20/night for the rugged area with no showers and outhouses. Both areas have faucets. Each spot has fire pit and picnic table and a nice wide parking spot. Nearby trails lead to beach. Dog friendly campsite, no extra fee. Trails not dog friendly, neither is the closest beach but there’s 5 miles of dog friendly beaches just north.
When I stayed at San Simeon State Park, the campground loop closer to the road (San Simeon Creek Loop) was full, so I ended up in the more primitive Washburn Loop. I switched spots from my initial camping spot for one along the back. It was by the pit toilets, which actually weren't bad. It had a nice fire pit and my site overlooked the mountains to the east. I could get to hiking trails from my site, which was nice. Campsites are with short grass. No showers. (I believe there are showers in the developed loop closer to the ocean.) Still, this was pretty quiet, despite the lack of privacy.
Wife, daughter and I stumbled on this site while heading south on 1. They had plenty of open sites and allowed dogs. For $20, can’t beat it.
Open space with few tree. I assume it get hot in summer.
My wife say five stars, but I will rate it a 4 in case someone comes for summer.
Nice sites with tables and fire pits. We were able to get a spot same day so some parts of the year it’s pretty mellow out there next time would go with the primitive sites. Close walk to beach and short drove to elephant seals. Right next to Hearst castle if visiting
Have stayed here a couple of times in the primitive sites. They usually book up quite a bit in advance as a short walk provides beach access. Very easy access to Hwy 1 if you like to bike as well. Sites are a bit close together and one night I stayed there was a group that was pretty loud past quiet time. Havent stayed at the sites with hookups closer to the beach. Restrooms are VERY clean and well stocked for a CA state campground.
The Washburn Campground at San Simeon State Park is our go-to campground for quick and easy camping in Central California. My boyfriend and I met at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and love visiting SLO and the surrounding areas. If we don’t want to pay to stay at a hotel and can’t crash with some friends, we like to set up our base-camp at Washburn, the primitive campground within San Simeon State Park. SSSP does have full campsites with hookups on its Creek Campground, but we prefer the views and the star gazing at the primitive Washburn sites - Washburn is on the top of a hill, with beautiful views of the ocean and surrounding hillsides and mountains. The fees for the primitive Washburn sites are $18 per night, versus $35 per night for the full campsites in the Creek Campground.
San Simeon State Park is easy to get to, as its right off Highway 1. You can make a reservation ahead of time, but you cannot select a specific site until you arrive. The ranger will ask you to go check out the campgrounds, and compile a list of site numbers that you are interested in. Once you return, they will go over the list with you and if one that you like is available, that site is yours.
Each primitive campsite has a fire ring and a bench, and there are pit toilets available. These are the nicest pit toilets I have seen anywhere. There are water spigots in Washburn, which have had running water for the last year or so; the water had previously been shut off due to the drastic drought. I believe there are plumbed toilets in the lower Creek Campgrounds, but we have yet to go down and confirm that.
Some sites are on the perimeter of the Washburn are more barren, but most sites have trees for some shade. Because you are right by the ocean, it can get pretty cold at night. Each site has a picnic bench and a fire pit - I can’t recall if the fire pits have grates. We generally do not cook while we camp at Washburn, as we usually pick something up in the nearby cities. Sebastian’s Store in San Simeon has GREAT burgers and various barbecue sandwiches. There is also a Hearst Ranch wine tasting room in the same shared building that sells frozen steaks from Hearst Ranch - great quality steaks, if you will be camping for a couple nights I suggest getting some Hearst steaks to cook while you are there.
There is a great new-ish restaurant and bar called Centrally Grown just down the road on Highway 1. This place has great, locally sourced food, and a good bar. We have been there for dinner, breakfast, and just for drinks, and have always had a great experience - the view from the upstairs restaurant is GORGEOUS. Centrally Grown is part of what looks like a compound called Off The Grid - it has a Bed and Breakfast, some goats and chickens, an event space for bands, and a very very interesting garden. Even if you want to just stop in for a coffee or pastry, I think Off The Grid is worth seeing - we like sitting in the garden with coffee.
I am a rock hound and Central California beaches have some reach rocks! To the North is Big Sur, so small jade can be found. There are moonstones from Cambria, and lots of agate and quartz.
The small town of Harmony (literally - it has a population of 18) is worth the visit - there is a lot of local art to be seen and purchased there at the hand blown glass shop and the pottery shop. There is also a winery and ice cream.
The elephant seals are always fun to go watch, and individuals can sometimes be seen on San Simeon beach. This beach is open to the public, and the seals are not behind any barriers as they are at the rookery. If you see a seal on the beach, give him lots of space and don’t harass him - elephant seals are huge animals, and are quicker than you’d think.
The Firestone Walker Brewery is in nearby Paso Robles - if you like beer, the tour is super interesting, and they have a tap room and store. The tap room restaurant is very good.
Fees: $20/night (primitive site fee)
Plumbed Toilets: No - pit
Drinking Water: Yes
Picnic Table: Yes
Cooking Grate: Yes
Cell Service: Limited
Animal Bins/Food lockers: No